Karnataka High Court on Thursday disqualified Janata Dal (Secular) MLA Gowrishankar, however, it put a stay on the order immediately, upon the request of the leader’s lawyer, for one month considering the upcoming Assembly elections in the state.
Gowrishankar will have to appeal to the Supreme Court and get a stay on the High Court’s judgment within one month of the order. The move of the High Court comes as a jolt to the party ahead of the Karnataka Assembly elections, the dates of which have been declared this week. Gowrishankar is an MLA from the Tumkur Rural assembly constituency. The JDS MLA was disqualified for allegedly distributing fake insurance policy bonds to 32,000 adults and 16,000 children aiming to garner votes ahead of the 2018 Assembly elections.
The application was filed by BJP leader Suresh Gowda who alleged that Gowrishankar won the election illegally by offering fake bond bait. He urged the court to invalidate his MLA position.
Senior advocate Nalina Mayegowda presented arguments for Suresh Gowda. As the verdict was delivered, Gowrishankar’s lawyer R Hemanta Raj filed an interim petition seeking a stay on the judgment in view of the declaration of assembly elections.
The bench allowed the petition and stayed the order for 30 days. As the election was annulled by the High Court, Gowrishankar can be disqualified from contesting elections for six years under the Representation of the People Act. So, the option before Gowrishankar is to file an appeal in the Supreme Court within 30 days. Gowrishankar will be allowed to contest the election only if he gets a stay of the High Court’s decision.
The Election Commission of India on March 29 declared the schedule for the Assembly elections in Karnataka.
The polling would take place in a single phase on May 10, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar said on Wednesday.
The counting of votes will be done on May 13, the CEC said in a press conference in the national capital.
“There are 224 Assembly constituencies of which 36 are reserved for the SCs and 15 for the STs. The total electorates in the state are 5,21,73,579 crores of which males are 2.62 crores and females are 2.59 crores. The total number of 80 plus electors is 12.15 lakhs. It is an increase of 32 per cent from 2018. It also includes 16,976 proud electors who are 100 plus. The number of persons with disabilities (PWDs) has increased to 5.55 lakhs. This is an increase of close to 150 per cent,” Kumar said.
The CEC also laid down the security measures for the identified sensitive booths in the state.
“There are 58,282 polling stations in Karnataka of which 20,866 are urban. The average number of electors per polling station comes to 883. On all the sensitive booths which have been identified, we take four to five measures. Either there would CAPF, or web-casting or a micro-observer. With the combination of all of these, we tend to put more vigour and vigil on the sensitive booths,” he informed.